Tourist for a Weekend


As the spring semester comes to a close, I must admit that a part of me has been craving home, longing for that sunny Miami vibrancy and the comfort of familiarity. My craving was satiated with a surprise visit from one of my best friends from the 305: Maria! Upon arrival on a Friday evening, we resolved to stay inside and have a snuggly night, sharing our perspective college experiences, while watching She’s the Man and eating popcorn underneath a plethora of fuzzy blankets and pillows hand selected from Urban Outfitters. 

My weekend mission was to bring my friend from Miami into the fold of my new home. So, since Saturday morning brought cravings for a hearty breakfast, we scampered off to Henrietta’s Table for a classic “treat yourself” meal. A tall glass of OJ was probably the lightest part of our meal, as we proceeded to order the creamiest, heaviest, warmest, coziest dish – or maybe that was just me… 

After we washed down an hour or so of a continuation of much needed catching up and giggling about old antics with a cup of coffee, we set out to the MFA – per Katherine’s glowing reviews and the mere fact that Maria and I were both avid museum prowlers back in our younger days (special thanks to the Perez Art Museum in Miami for breeding this passion in us). 

Aside from the joy of finding out that Harvard students receive free entrance to the MFA (seriously, this is such a perk!), Maria and I serendipitously found ourselves standing behind a truly mod 8-year old. In front of us stood a young girl with a pink moto jacket, combat boots, and a skirt made out of a print of Van Gogh’s Starry Night. Of course we had to talk to her. 

Marissa and her dad told us this was their first trip together to the museum – as Marissa had been begging him to visit since she could remember. Her skirt was hand sewn by her grandmother, and was definitely a testament to her genuine curiosity about art (future daughters of mine please take note). We ended up running into her and her father at different points in the museum, and each time we smiled as we overheard her fervently inquiring about the story behind each piece. 

Suffice it to say, the MFA did not disappoint. We crammed as much as we could of the Textiles exhibit, as well as the other wings, of the museum into our brief excursion. At that moment, we realized that we had embarked on a typical tourist weekend. (In the interest of finishing the story of our touristy two days, I included the abundance of photos I took at the MFA in a carousel at the end of this post – peruse at your pleasure). 


After a casual stroll about the museum, the grumblings of our stomachs led us to a delightful surprise in the museum café. I must say the food is pretty spot on. (And for any of the people who know me and are going to see this picture of a salad, don't worry, I was feeling okay when I ordered it, and for those of you less familiar with my eating habits, lets just say leafy greens aren't usually my go to). The ambiance of the café is definitely pristine and refreshing, providing you with a brief respite complete with bright lighting and good eats. 

As we wrapped up lunch, we couldn’t help but spot a fellow visitor in a rather loud ensemble. Donning a fully floral suit, this man was standing in front of (and blending in with) an installation of bikes – which seems quite implausible since his suit was screaming – well, if suits could scream. Yet the mixture of colors present on that fabric seemed to echo the metallic blues of the bikes he dripped into as he passed them by. 

Upon leaving the museum, a particular art piece caught the corner of my eye. It wasn’t the glaring green that grabbed me, rather it was the familiar glass spokes that instantly resonated in my heart. I had spotted a Chihuly in the atrium of the MFA!

Without delving too deep into stories about my childhood, I will say that Chihuly holds a warm and familiar place in my heart as his art was often on display at the Fairchild Botanical Garden, one of my very favorite places to go to back home in Miami. I took this as a sign – not only was I ecstatic that Maria was here to visit for the weekend, but she (and this piece of Chihuly) were the little bits of home I needed to reinvigorate my drive to finish out the semester strong. 

Later that night, I snuck Maria, along with the Mod & Bean team, in to cover press for the Identities Fashion Show. In just one day, I’m pretty sure Maria perceived quite a glamorous view of Beantown.

The next morning brought longings for warm bagels and a hunger strong enough to willingly wait in the 30 minute Bagelsaurus line – which, I must say, is always worth it.

As if our T-Rex bagels overflowing with bananas and bacon and oozing out almond butter and honey weren’t satisfying enough, we swung by Mike’s Pastry to get a taste of a Bostonian classic, which successfully sent us into a delicious food coma. 

The rest of the day was filled with shopping (no surprise there) and more long overdue laughter. Getting to take the weekend off and show Maria the city that has come to also feel like home to me was enough to get me thinking about my actual place within Boston, in the 617. While I’m a proud Miamian born and raised, I will be spending more of these next four years in Boston than I will be back home. So is Boston home for now? Do I dare call myself a Bostonian if I’m only here under the guise of red-brick encased studies? It seems too hefty a title to call myself a local, yet it seems like I’ve also outgrown tourist status – well, aside from taking Maria to all the classic hotspots this weekend. I’ve actually asked some of my Boston-born friends what they think of this: should college students be considered locals? Residents? Tourists? Everyone has a different answer. It seems to me that we are no longer tourists but not yet locals, as we carefully teeter around the balance between doe eyed curiosity and weathered knowledge of our surroundings. 

I suppose I cannot quite be considered a local, or even a resident of the 617, but whatever I am, I still try to distance myself from being caught up with the tourists who are visiting our campus. I often catch myself clutching my backpack extra tight and trying to walk with a gait that I think will notify everyone that I do in fact go here, and that no, I’m not just gunning to rub the foot of John Harvard and take my picture in front of Widener Library.

However, as this glamorous weekend came to a close and before Maria and I did our classic Carrie Diaries spin-off of “it’s not a goodbye, it’s a see you later”, she insisted on one picture in front of good ‘ol Widener. I was pretty reluctant, but her boisterous personality won out (as it usually does) and she lunged at a passerby, asking him if he’d take a photo of us and reassuring him that I actually go here... for my sake.

Xx, Maia